Norway’s Supreme Court has elected not to hear the appeal of Oslo-listed flotel operator Prosafe in its protracted legal battle against Norwegian yard Westcon relating to the conversion of tender support vessel Safe Scandinavia.

The Gulating Court of Appeal (Gulating Lagmannsrett) in Bergen earlier this year ruled that Prosafe had to pay Westcon Nkr302.5 million (US$35.76 million) plus interest and legal costs, in total about Nkr465 million (US$53.43 million) related to the conversion of the Safe Scandinavia at Westcon’s yard.

Prosafe in May said it had “decided to address the perceived shortcomings” of the judgement by the Gulating Court of Appeal through an appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, the Supreme Court on Friday decided not to accept Prosafe’s appeal and, as such, the judgement by the Gulating Court of Appeal is final.

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Prosafe in early 2015 contracted Westcon to convert the 1984-built unit into a tender support vessel for a charter to Norway’s Statoil (now Equinor).

The conversion work was due to be completed within the same year but the yard suffered delays, resulting in the delayed start-up of the vessel’s two-year contract with Statoil at the Oseberg East field offshore Norway.

Unable to resolve their dispute, Westcon and Prosafe have found themselves locked in a drawn-out legal feud dating back several years.

The Stavanger District Court in 2018 ordered Westcon to pay Nkr344 million plus interest and Nkr10.6 million in legal costs to Prosafe; a ruling which saw Westcon appeal and Prosafe subsequently file a counter appeal in May that year.

"Disappointed and suprised"

Fast forward to April 2021 and the Gulating Lagmannsrett ruled that Prosafe should pay Westcon about Nkr465 million in total — a decision that left Prosafe "disappointed and surprised".

“It is difficult to understand how two courts can reach such complete opposite results," Prosafe chief executive Jesper Andresen said at the time.

The Safe Scandinavia is an anchor-moored semi-submersible tender support and accommodation vessel with beds for 309 persons.

The vessel was built in 1984 at the Aker Verdal yard in Norway to an Aker H-3.2 design. It was upgraded in 2003 and then underwent a 20-year life extension refurbishment in 2014.

Safe Scandinavia has worked at various fields including Valhall, Ula and Snorre on the Norwegian continental shelf and the Solan and Judy fields offshore the UK since completing the Oseberg East contract with Statoil.